Anti-abortion protesters demonstrated in Cedar Rapids Thursday as Planned Parenthood plans to expand a program to extend abortion services to rural Iowa. The program allows a physician in Des Moines to communicate electronically with patients in outlying clinics and then dispense the medicines which result in the termination of pregnancy.

Tara Shaver with Operation Rescue came from Wichita to protest. “Our concern is that Iowa state law clearly states that only licensed physicians are allowed to do abortions,” Shaver said. Barbara Chadwick is Director of Patient Services at Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa. She says her organization will soon make the telemedicine abortion option available for the first time at its clinics in Dubuque and Cedar Rapids.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland operates 18 clinics in Iowa. Abortion services are now available for the first time in their facilities in communities such as Spencer and Knoxville. Officials with Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa observed their 30th anniversary Thursday.

The president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America was in Cedar Rapids and praised the Iowa innovation in expanding abortion services in rural parts of the state.